Upgrading to an LED Landing Light

I replaced my burned-out Sylvania halogen 65MR16/FL40 bulb (65 W, 40º flood lamp) with the T6 3-LED Lamp.

This bulb ($27 USD) is bright at 2000 lumens, and only draws 1.5amps. It’s meant for high power flashlights.


I had to shave down the outer diameter of the case to fit the Glasair mounting rings to match an MR16 diameter. Easily done on a belt sander. I then soldered a connector wire to the positive connection on the back side of the bulb. You’ll need to attach the negative wire either to your mounting case, or solder to the outside of the bulb case. It’s tough to solder to the aluminum case, so I mechanically attached by drilling a hole through one side ring, and then used JB Weld to solidify it. One could probably just attach the negative to the side mounting screw in the mounting case. Easier in hindsight, and what I’ll do for the next halogen I replace.

Note: These bulbs do need continuous air flow over them to keep cool. On the bench, the lamp heats up and will self shut-down after a couple of minutes due to heat. Must be an internal temperature sensor regulating this. I hooked up a computer fan to blow air over the bulb and let it sit on the bench for 45min. It stayed on the entire time, as long as air was flowing over the bulb.

During a test flight there was no noise in the headset and radios.

However, The CREE Lamp internal electronics failed after about 2 hours of flight time. I pulled it apart and found that the negative wire and one of the wires on the toroid winding on the circuit board had shaken itself free from the engine vibration.

It was very simple to re-solder the connections back to the circuit board pads. This time I potted the whole circuit board in E6000 glue. This thing won’t shake free again!

I currently have a halogen bulb back in the plane but will swap this CREE LED bulb back in once the halogen fails again.

I have 3 more of the CREE Lamps and I plan to do the internal pot mod to each.

At 2000 lumens and two bulbs in the nose it’s nice and bright! I’m pretty confident I found a reliable replacement for my Halogen MR-16 bulbs!

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Howard Plevyak
Pictures of completed aircraft located here: https://goo.gl/photos/6XLPXoHevADBB6aN6